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Conversion factors for the vara

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Vara is a Spanish unit of distance. It was used in the Spanish and Mexican surveys and land grants in Texas.[1] Consequently, such measures may be found on lease descriptions in Texas.


Location Value of Vara in Inches Conversion Factor Varas to Meters
Argentina, Paraguay 34.12 8.666 E−01
Cadiz, Chile, Peru 33.37 8.476 E−01
California, except San Francisco 33.3720 8.476 49 E−01
San Francisco 33.0 8.38 E−01
Central America 33.87 8.603 E−01
Colombia 31.5 8.00 E−01
Honduras 33.0 8.38 E−01
Mexico 8.380 E−01
Portugal, Brazil 43.0 1.09 E+00
Spain Cuba, Venezuela, Philippine Islands 33.38** 8.479 E−01
Texas, 26 January 1801 to 27 January 1838 32.8748 8.35020 E−01
27 January 1838 to 17 June 1919, for surveys of state land made for land office 33¹/³ 8.466667 E−01
27 January 1838 to 17 June 1919, on private surveys (unless change to 33¹/³ by custom arising to dignity of law and overcoming former law) 32.8748 8.35020 E−01
17 June 1919 to present 33¹/³ 8.466667 E−01


*Per P.G. McElwee (The Texas Vara; available from the General Land Office, State of Texas, Austin, 30 April 1940) it is evident that accurate defined lengths of the vara vary significantly, according to historical data and locality used. For work requiring accurate conversions, the user should check closely into the date and location of the surveys involved, with due regard to what local practice may have been at that time and place.
**This value quoted from Webster’s New International Dictionary.

References

  1. "VARA," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/pfv02), accessed September 12, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.